Somerset Regional Council candidate Mike Tanner.
Somerset Regional Council candidate Mike Tanner.

Former council candidate says ‘no no no’ to Christmas tree

ONE local council is workshopping a plan to make the silly season bigger and brighter for towns in its locality after a Christmas decoration initiative was given the go ahead.

Twinkling trees - either bought or hired - are at the heart of the idea, which has just entered the community consultation phase.

READ MORE: Council's plan to bring Christmas cheer to the region

But, while it has drawn plenty of community support, not everyone is on board.

Former Somerset Council candidate and SES volunteer Mike Tanner believes the money could be better spent.

"It is a little frivolous - there are plenty of other, more pressing needs that I see for the residents of Somerset rather than Christmas lights," Mr Tanner said.

"There is an endless list of repairs and minor things all fitting in the same dollar space as has been hinted at in council's minutes."

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In its meeting last Wednesday, Somerset Regional Council councillors discussed four options to carry out the plan, one of which involves hiring Christmas trees at $12,000 a pop.

Trees standing three to five metres tall were estimated to cost about $10,000, if the council were to buy them outright.

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The other two options involved decorating an existing tree, costing between $2000 and $4000, or providing community groups grants to organise decorations themselves.

Mr Tanner noted his grandchildren would no doubt enjoy seeing Christmas lights but described the concept as "bread and circuses".

"I think we have all had our experienced with Christmas tree lights and you kind of thing, well, $2000 - that's a lot of money in the scheme of things," he said.

"It is bread and circuses - it's a little bit of faffing around on the edges - and there is a fairly well-established Christmas lights trail around the Somerset.

"At the end of the day, council really needs to get back to its basics and concentrate on the four Rs - roads, rates, rubbish and residents."

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Councillors are in the process of consulting with community groups across Somerset towns, seeking feedback and opinions.

Cr Cheryl Gaedtke was in favour of the initiative but supported low-cost options.

"I don't necessarily want to see the most expensive options there, I think there's some cheaper options we can pursue," she said.

Read more stories by Ebony Graveur.